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Old 12-12-2012, 08:34 AM   #41
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Well, live and learn I guess. Or at least I hope I both live, and learn. I guess you can tell that I am not exactly a big time cook.

Ha
Fair enough! I also remembered that Cajuns like to put crab in their spicy gumbo, and it works!
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:13 AM   #42
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The best time to do a road trip like this is late July or early August. The Mt. St. Helen's visitor center won't be open before mid-July (and then it will be spectacular). Crater Lake will be open, and hopefully, most of the snow will be gone.

I did a trip 3 years ago at that same time and Crater Lake was open, but snowed in!

Weather is better in July and August than earlier.

Add to the list: Mt Lassen National Park. This park is made for driving. However, the roads are twisty and may not be comfortable for the rider, as at times you aren't sure where the road is taking you! But rest assured there is pavement there, just the drop-offs are significant. Great little national park in northern central California.

But, really, it depends on the type of scenery and experiences you want to have. Urban, suburban, natural beauty? You mentioned short drives, so really you're best bet is the coast road north of SF to Astoria, then north on I-5 to Vancouver.

But, you have received some great ideas here.

-- Rita

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:40 AM   #43
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The first time we did a road trip like this was 1974 in our green Vega. I remember turning on the radio to hear about the Watergate events as we drove home.

Once we did the trip with our young son in mid-June. The weather was very grey and cool much of the trip. That's why I posted the average weather link above.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:03 PM   #44
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The best time to do a road trip like this is late July or early August.
It's hard to convince people of this, because they often come some other time and get very nice weather. Or a friend or family member tells them this. And out weather might be changing. But overall, it can be dreary at times other than those mentioned by Rita, but only rarely during late July and early August.

I remember wearing a down jacket on many a July 4, mainly out in the San Juans. And I've been snowed on big time in the North Cascades in mid August.

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Coast trip
Old 12-12-2012, 05:58 PM   #45
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Coast trip

Have been to the Oregon coast a couple of times. Two places to think about seeing are Stout's Grove in the Redwoods (where they filmed parts of The Empire Strikes Back);this is located in Northern California near the Oregon border and my favourite location on the coast, Harris Beach State Park (a wonderful beach with a nice campground close to Brookings)
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:05 PM   #46
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It's hard to convince people of this, because they often come some other time and get very nice weather. Or a friend or family member tells them this. And out weather might be changing. But overall, it can be dreary at times other than those mentioned by Rita, but only rarely during late July and early August.
So waiting until mid-August is dicey? If one is not in the Cascades, would that be OK?

I'm asking because a lot of kids go back to school around then -- less crowded maybe.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:41 PM   #47
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I'm willing to wait until July or August if that's the best time to go.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:42 PM   #48
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Have been to the Oregon coast a couple of times. Two places to think about seeing are Stout's Grove in the Redwoods (where they filmed parts of The Empire Strikes Back);this is located in Northern California near the Oregon border and my favourite location on the coast, Harris Beach State Park (a wonderful beach with a nice campground close to Brookings)
DW is a big Star Wars fan so that's going to be an easy sale.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:01 PM   #49
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So waiting until mid-August is dicey? If one is not in the Cascades, would that be OK?

I'm asking because a lot of kids go back to school around then -- less crowded maybe.
If you mean August 15th or so, very likely you would have good weather. The snow I referred to was a week or 10 days after that, and I was goat hunting above Hart's pass which I think is itself at 6000' or so. Lately we have had quite good weather. I am not the best witness, I just tend to deal with when it comes and I mostly am optimistic that the weather will be nice.

People plan these huge trips which might include large elevation changes and everything from high mountains to beaches, and almost 15 degrees of latitude, so I'd say it's hard to be very accurate with suggestions. The North Cascades Hiway is one of America's prettiest roads, and usually is open by late April. If you want to go hiking, the trails up off here are another question, and likely most of them are better tackled in July or August.

Harts Pass to Jim Pass | Trail Running || SeriousRunning.com

WSDOT - SR 20 - North Cascades Highway

Things To Do in Washington - North Cascades National Park

North Cascades Mountains of Washington State - Go Northwest! A Travel Guide

Ha
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:05 PM   #50
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So waiting until mid-August is dicey? If one is not in the Cascades, would that be OK?

I'm asking because a lot of kids go back to school around then -- less crowded maybe.
But not in Oregon or Washington. There kids don't return to school until September.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:18 PM   #51
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Have been to the Oregon coast a couple of times. Two places to think about seeing are Stout's Grove in the Redwoods (where they filmed parts of The Empire Strikes Back);this is located in Northern California near the Oregon border and my favourite location on the coast, Harris Beach State Park (a wonderful beach with a nice campground close to Brookings)
See attachments:

- Redwoods in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, view from Brown Creek Trail. 101 drives right through the park.

- Harris Beach State Park on the beach.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Redwoods-Brown-Creek-Trail-panorama.jpg (271.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Harris-Beach-at-sunset-panorama2.jpg (114.6 KB, 8 views)
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:18 PM   #52
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If you mean August 15th or so, very likely you would have good weather. The snow I referred to was a week or 10 days after that, and I was goat hunting above Hart's pass which I think is itself at 6000' or so. Lately we have had quite good weather. I am not the best witness, I just tend to deal with when it comes and I mostly am optimistic that the weather will be nice.

Harts Pass to Jim Pass | Trail Running || SeriousRunning.com

Ha
Thanks Ha. I won't be doing any goat hunting.

Once we took a vacation in the southern Sierras (Mammoth Lakes) around Sept 3. It was cold and grey. Not any fun and on hikes one couldn't sit down for long (cold logs and cold granite).
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:20 PM   #53
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But not in Oregon or Washington. There kids don't return to school until September.
I guess we'd not be competing with California families. Wasn't aware of the Oregon/Washington school situation, rats. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:27 PM   #54
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In 2008, I spent about 2.5 months (mid-May through July) traveling in the Northern California Redwoods area, then the entire Oregon coast photographing the incredible scenery.

- Enderts Beach - just south of Crescent City, CA
- View from Cape Blanco, OR - the Cape Blanco lighthouse was a real treat
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File Type: jpg View-south-from-Cape-Blanco-panorama.jpg (176.1 KB, 6 views)
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:28 PM   #55
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I guess we'd not be competing with California families. Wasn't aware of the Oregon/Washington school situation, rats. Thanks for the tip.
Yep - I discovered this last year when we spent August and September in WA.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:40 PM   #56
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We visited Washington State several years ago pulling a Coleman camping trailer behind an F150 pickup. This was in July. We were snowed in at Crater Lake and we were socked in with fog at Mt. St. Helens. Centralia had a very nice free municipal campground in the middle of town.

We were planning to camp on the Pacific Ocean in a campground in the Olympic National Park. To my surprise I discovered that every campsite in every campground on the ocean was occupied. At the time there was no reservation system. Strangely, almost every campsite was occupied by an RV with California license plates and there was almost no one at the campsites. They were like ghost towns. I have always strongly suspected that the Californians were parking their RV's at the campsites and commuting to the campgrounds on weekends. We found a place to stay in Forks. The weather was so bad that all the loggers were hanging around town. Almost like "Axmen".
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:05 PM   #57
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We found a place to stay in Forks. The weather was so bad that all the loggers were hanging around town. Almost like "Axmen".
Did you come back with a newly discovered love of human blood?

I live in Washington, and have almost forever. If I lived in California, I would almost never leave to vacation in Washington. Reliable sun improves almost anything.

Ha
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:58 AM   #58
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As I look through this list I notice that Timberline Lodge isn't on the list. http://www.timberlinelodge.com/

As you plan your trip drive the Coast Highway south. There are lots of viewpoints on the ocean side, you won't need to cross traffic to use them.

Once you have an approximate date for Portland PM me. I live just a few blocks from the Japanese Garden, mentioned earlier.

Have you considered visiting Victoria? There is a fast passenger only ferry from Seattle to Victoria: Victoria Clipper Ferry | Ferry to Victoria BC | San Juan Islands Ferry . If you want to take your car a nice routing would be to take the Bremerton or Bainbridge Island ferry (both the same fare but the Bremerton trip is longer so you will see more), drive to Port Angeles, take the ferry to Victoria. The Royal BC Museum and high tea at the Empress Hotel are not to be missed, visit (have dinner) the Buchart Gardens. Drive to Sidney, catch the Tsawwassen ferry at Swartz Bay if you want to see Vancouver, BC. Washington State Ferries also operates a ferry to Anacortes out of this same terminal. Advance ferry reservations are a necessity.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:54 AM   #59
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I'm bookmarking this thread for a future road trip from Vancouver to San Francisco. Read backwards, of course!
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:56 PM   #60
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OK, here's my ideal trip, if I was heading north from San Francisco and wanting to do a loop through Vancouver BC. I would want a variety of scenery, and as the OP said, shorter drive times. Understand that you will hit traffic congestion on I-5 north or southbound between Chehalis WA and Eugene OR. This is the main route for large truck traffic and combined with urban sprawl makes for a less than interesting view point.

Heading north on the coast road up to the Redwoods - visit the state park and the National Park. Sleep in Arcata or Crescent City - check out the bay at Crescent City.

Continue north on 101 to Bandon and Reedsport - plenty of places to stop and view, and to stay over. The Oregon Dunes are magnificent.

Fire up the GPS, and head east on one of the state highways. Aim for Eugene. Nice places to stay, a university town (lots of wineries to check out along the way).

Head east from Eugene towards Newberry Oregon and visit the volcano there. Head north towards Redmond Oregon. Along the way visit the High Desert Museum in Bend. High Desert Museum: highdesertmuseum.org There are plenty of places to stay in Redmond.

By now you've seen beaches, forests, and dry vistas of eastern Oregon. Continue north on I-97 to the Dalles and cross the Columbia River into Washington. Then depending on your likes, either:

Head west on Washington 14. Stop by a Stonehenge replica dedicated to WWI veterans, then onto to Maryhill Museum (about 3 miles), then onto Maryhill Winery (nice restaurant too!). And then further west to I-5. Northbound, stop at Mt. St. Helens (again plenty of places in the I-5 corrider to pull off and stay). Continue north using recommendations from others here about Seattle and northward (including west across the Sound to Olympic National Park, or east from Tacoma to Mt. Rainier, and or east from Sedro Wooley to the North Cascades National Park).

or

Continue north on I-97 through the Yakima Valley observing the high desert. Once in the Yakima area there are many wineries to visit if that is what you like. Also good places to stay and marvelous views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Rainier.

Continue north to Ellensberg and on to Wenatchee. Head west at Highway 2 to the Bavarian town of Leavenworth. Great walking, shopping, eating, sleeping. Continue west to I-5 and then north to Vancouver.

Return: Vancouver to Victoria. Victoria via Ferry to Pt Angeles, then onto the Olympic National Park. West out of Pt Angeles to Forks and south along 101 all the way to Astoria. Continue down the Oregon/California coast, or move east onto I-5 for a faster drive home.

BTW, I think this is more than 2 weeks, but it gets you out of the I-5 corridor to the eastern parts of Oregon and Washingon. In eastern Oregon you also get great views of the the large and small volcanoes in the Cascade Mountains.

-- Rita
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